December 14, 2014
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year. Each day I will find a gift the day brings, write about it and illustrate it.)
Two months ago, I could do it for no longer than five minutes. Today I can do it for 20 minutes!
When I was in my mid-fifties, teaching 7th grade all day and working on my doctorate at night, I walked in Downs Park two miles every day. In those days, I woke up at 5:30, taught 12-year-olds all day, returned home to plan lessons and grade papers, updated the Web site I had for my students and their families, walked in the park, drove to Baltimore and sometimes did not arrive home until 11 p.m. when I had a late class at the University of Baltimore.
After I retired and got my doctorate at 60, I eagerly embraced the lack of bells and absence of deadlines. I became sedentary, especially as knee pain increased. After knee replacement surgery, I was unable to walk for a while. Even after physical therapy, I did not return to exercise—I was always too tired and computer activities filled my time. Soon it felt as if my joints were rusting as global arthritic pain became worse. It became obvious to me that exercise was essential.
Now I have returned to my gym, determined that every day I will move and not stop for 30 minutes. I do not rush frantically on the equipment like many do but go slow and steady. In good weather, I walk in the park instead of going to the gym. The irony is that the more energy I expend, the more I have. I think this applies to other parts of life too—the more I give, the more I have.
Two months ago, before five minutes were up on the elliptical, my heart raced and I was out of breath. Today, after 20 minutes, my pulse is okay and I feel good.
Today’s gift of stamina was one I gave to myself through time and discipline.